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Issues – Defending Our Rights and Freedoms

The Issues

Every American must enjoy all rights and protections provided for by our constitution and laws. With that understanding I will,

  1. Stand up against the threats to American citizens within the Patriot Act.
  2. Protect Privacy
    An expectation in being an American is the freedom to privacy and yet interceptions of our communications, monitoring, the weakening of Miranda laws, governmental interference that would dictate our choices, our activities, our morality, our medicines and our treatments threaten to totally destroy our right to privacy. It is for this reason that I maintain freedom first when considering any law or policy.
  3. Remind that Equal Rights are Human Rights
    No group of people should be targeted for exclusion from the same rights and privileges enjoyed by other Americans. Equality is fundamental to a free society. In addition, heinous activities such as women and other American citizens exploited in certain labor markets, exploited sexually, and exploited in a growing slave trade market threaten to undermine our freedoms. These are issues also deserving of careful and immediate attention.
  4. Education
    All Americans are entitled to adequate public education in a safe environment.

Issues – Prosperity NOT Poverty

The Issues

Prosperity NOT Poverty

We live in the most powerful and richest country in the world and yet many of our own citizens are without benefits, pensions or health care coverage. Many Alaskans work two jobs and still barely make ends meet each month. Our current administration and representatives decide to continue to give tax breaks to the richest of our communities, allow them means to reduce their obligations to America, and furthermore dare to do so by providing more “individual” rights to corporations than to the people themselves.

Congress has given itself pay increases and yet refuses to debate raising the Minimum Wage for the working class unless there are strings attached for the rich.

I believe the role of Congress is to provide opportunities for all Americans to fulfill the “American Dream” of prosperity and liberty. Therefore, I will

  1. Pledge to seek through legislation a freeze on Congressional salaries until we ensure all Americans earn a true living wage, and until our veterans and all Americans have adequate and accessible health care.
  2. Acknowledge “Right to Work” laws for what they are, a means to inhibit organized bargaining and limit workers protections and rights. Clearly, I would support unions and responsible unionizing with the full intent of continual protection and advocacy for America’s workers. Reinforce job safety and adequate conditions for workers in all fields of employment.
  3. Consider the realities and needs and means to support the small business owner while legislating on such issues as wage increases and trade.
  4. Support merging labor and conservation; expanding project and development innovations, sustaining jobs, and producing savings at the same time.
  5. Carefully consider any legislation regarding American corporation business practices and trade based on what is best for an ethical America.
  6. Pursue programs and responsible solutions that would provide for the most fragile and needy, and that would prevent or treat homelessness, addiction, illiteracy, hunger or malnutrition.
  7. Support and promote sound and sustainable resource development and other forms of responsible industry that build good jobs and a welcoming future.

Issues – Troops and Veterans

The Issues

Supporting our Troops during wartime should mean

  1. Providing them with adequate gear and equipment before we send them into harms way. Many underpaid military families have felt compelled to buy expensive supplies and gear for their soldier to outfit them for combat. This desperation was followed by insult when they were barred from continuing.
  2. Honoring a volunteer military by respecting, rather than involuntarily extending, their contracts. It is wrong and immoral to demand them to go to war and then add extensions when (and because) most Americans are unwilling to serve or sacrifice themselves. Furthermore, it is wrong to expect more of them if we are not willing to give more to them. We must provide more than temporary and insufficient pay raises.
  3. We should expect to sacrifice as a nation and share the burden to support our troops. Ideas that arise include bonds, corporate fees, rations or other system to offset the cost concerns over gear and debt, adequately prepare more troops rather than depleting the troops we have; set an example as Congressional members and ensure our family members sign up for service, and aggressively target untargeted groups for service, such as others typically of privilege.
  4. Maintain and keep adequate National Guard for the home front.

Honoring our Veterans Means Providing for our Veterans

Iraq and Afghanistan operations are causing enormous increases in disabled and severely traumatized veterans. Are we ready to handle this obligation? VA is under funded and cannot handle existing need, educational benefits are cut, and extended families are denied support. We must honor our agreement and ensure that all our veterans are supported in everyway possible and receive the benefits they have earned.

Services need to be funded while reducing overhead costs, and each veteran could be guaranteed the premium of healthcare through a single-payer system, and should be ensured continuing educational benefits, and their families provided resources. How can we turn our eyes, hearts or minds from those that have fully given of themselves for the entire country?

View The 199 Club Statements

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199 Club Statements

Elaine Carroll Johnston, Fairbanks

I am a Fairbanks teacher, but I began my career in 1976 in St. Mary’s, Alaska. My life has been consumed with the well being of our state’s most valuable resource, our children. Bless your heart for taking on the GOLIATH, Don Young. You have my admiration and support.

Anonymous, Alaska

Straight across the board income or sales tax. Everybody who has a special interest, go home and talk to you neighbors because that’s the only our way money will be spent from now on, by popular vote of our representatives. Collections are forever limited to the single tax.

Robert Sylvester, Juneau

I believe large donations of money from any individual or group to a candidate or party makes a mockery of the electoral process. What will the Congressperson do to get corporate money out of politics? The other issue is the extreme partisanship of Congress. Civility must return or the US will soon become a second rate nation. Global climate change, the war in Iraq, must be dealt with.

Gail Johnson, Anchorage

I’m not good with words, so I don’t have an eloquent statement; I just want Diane to help take back my country. I served proudly for 20 years in the Navy, retiring in 1995, and I’m sickened by what the current administration has done to destroy this country’s honor and integrity. I have a young cousin in the Army; serving in Iraq on his second tour after his enlistment was involuntarily extended, so I know first hand the crimes this “dictatorship” has committed against our brave military. Don Young is part of the “Axis of Corruption” and needs to be defeated! Good Luck to Diane, she’s in my prayers.
(Editor’s Note: Shakespeare himself could not have said it more eloquently.)

DJ Dallas, Fairbanks

Washington, DC is worlds away from Ft. Yukon, Alaska and the 30+ years of Don Young’s absence has perhaps limited his vision of current and realistic issues from the people of this great state. As one of us, Diane Benson recognizes the issues close to home. At critical times in this country NOW is the time for a fresh and positive change to ‘politics as usual’!

Maryellen Oman, Anchorage

You’ve (Congress) passed a global warming statement. Now generously fund immediately the many sources of renewable energy that are available: wind, tidal power, solar, geothermal, small hydro, sustainable biodiesel fuels. And fund research into other long-time alternatives such as hydrogen fuel cells and anything else that might be possible as a renewable energy source.

Duane Sherwood, Anchorage

It saddens me how polarized our country has become. Conservative. Liberal. Democrat. Republican. These terms have become supercharged with emotional energy. In school I learned that “liberal” simply means willing to change, and “conservative” simply means preferring things the way they are. As humans, we each have some of both. As a society, we need both. Societies need to change and adapt. Societies also need stability. The real issue is finding a wise balance. Balance can be achieved when opposing factions engage in open dialogue and intelligent debate. Let’s move beyond propoganda. Let’s move beyond media hype. Let’s move beyond the polarization of society. Let’s remember the idea of working together to “promote the general welfare…” With balance, we can get things done. Without it, we are a house divided. Please don’t let politics get in the way of intelligent debate. Please remember to serve the people first.

What in the World is the 199 Club?

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What in the World is the 199 Club?

We live in a country that is supposed to be founded upon the voices of its citizens. What happens when these voices are drowned out by the opinions and messages of special interest groups and party-line politics? How do we, as people of this great country, know that we are being heard? Diane would like to be your voice in Congress. She would like to hear from you, her fellow Alaskans, so that she can be sure that your concerns are being addressed by your representative. It is with this in mind that Diane announces both an opportunity for you to ensure that your issues are being raised, as well as a chance to engage in a citizen-based campaign funding initiative.

The 199 Club

This opportunity, which Diane is calling the 199 Club, is a way of supporting her campaign while letting her know what concerns are close to your heart. You can join this club by donating $199 – big enough to let us know how committed you are to Diane’s mission of representing Alaska’s interests yet small enough to avoid the bureaucratic hassle of larger contributions. As a part of your gift, we ask that you answer the question “If you had 60 seconds to speak to Congress, what would you say?” We request that the responses be of a reasonable length, around 50 words or so, with an indication of whether you want to remain anonymous or be named. Joining this club will help Diane better understand the real issues of Alaska – your issues – as well as provide a way to engage in public discourse. Responses will be posted online, and you will have a chance to see what other Alaskans are concerned about, and perhaps hear back from Diane. It is time to do away with special interest groups and their strings-attached funding. Let us make the interests of all Alaskans known. Let your voice be heard.

One final note. We realize that $199 is a lot of money, especially in these days of high gas prices so we will accept Statements with whatever contribution that the contributor can afford. We will even print Statements with no contribution at all. Yes, we are trying to raise money for the campaign, but it is also important to hear what the people, all of the people, have to say.